[SOLVED] Organizational Psycology

GOLF TEE MANUFACTURING AT GLM LTD GLM Ltd manufactures golf tees. Golf tees are made in various sizes and colours. The focus here is on the production of their most popular product, packs of 20 golf tees (5 each of blue, red, yellow and white). The manufacturing process is in two main stages (‘tee manufacturing’ and ‘packaging’). The first stage is Tee manufacturing. The company buys in plastic pellets and coloured dyes. There are several plastic extrusion machines. Operators load the machine with a specific quantity of plastic pellets and required dye colour. The machines heat the pellets until they melt and then they are forced into dyes into the shape of the tees. The machines are very quick and they can make several thousand tees an hour. The reliability of the machines is so high, that they quickly reach target production levels. Tees of different colour are placed into large boxes ready to be taken to the packing area.The second stage is packaging. This area consists of between 3 to 9 operators, depending on production demand, most of who are women. The operators are on part- time contracts and work between 12 to 35 hours per week but this can vary. When they need more operators (due to high demand) they tend to recruit temporary staff many of whom have not worked in the company before. Each operator sits at a production desk which has boxes of each coloured tee (blue, red, yellow and white), boxes of clear plastic bags and cardboard tops. The operator counts 5 tees from each box of tees, places them in the plastic bag, puts a cardboard top over the open end of the plastic bag and inserts two staples to seal the bag (using an automatic stapler). Because the job is repetitive and boring the production manager has arranged the area such that the operators sit in a circle so they can talk to each other and listen to the radio. In the centre of the circle is a large box into which the operators throw the finished product. The area also has a production assistant (usually a trainee) who fills up the boxes of tees and replaces the finished product box when required. The packaging area has a daily production target and any bonus earned is distributed equally between the operators.The operators often complain that they don’t know how well they are performing against the target and therefore whether they are performing to expectation. They also say that sometimes the temporary packers (i.e., those brought in when demand is high) can be disruptive in the team and that the supervisor does not deal with this when it happens. The supervisor reports that there are some operators who have been there a long time tend to dominate over others in terms of how hard they should work (they tend to set the work pace).A recent management committee meeting examined the productivity levels for the operators as function of the number of operators working (see Figure below). The supervisor reasoned there should be a direct relationship between the number of people working and productivity (note there is no competition for resources e.g., tees). For example, 8 operators should produce twice as much as 4 operators who should produce twice as much as 2 operators etc. This is what one would expect if they worked alone. However, this was not the case. As the number of operators working increased, the corresponding increase in productivity was not as predicted. The actual productivity levels were always below the predicted. In fact 9 operators often produced no more than did 7 operators! The supervisor pointed out the data had been averaged over several weeks (and many operators) and therefore could not be due to the effect of any particular operator. The supervisor was very concerned about this and suggested that working within a group situation had reduced each operator’s productivity level. This problem led to intense discussion amongst those at the meeting.

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